Quiet, busy time for ex-head Ros
ROS Hodge expects she will do a lot of waiting over the next few months as she acclimatises to life after school.
The Bilambil Public School principal will retire next week after 10 years at its helm and a career in education spanning 34 years.
She is apprehensive about life outside the school gate, without the regular timing of bells to remind her when to eat, drink and leave.
"I've been in schools for 50 years as a student, teacher or principal," she explained.
"And in that time I've become a bit like Pavlov's Dog, my life is determined by the bells. When the 11am bell rings I know it is time for a coffee.
"On the holidays its eerie because I'm waiting for the bells to go so I can have my lunch. So I expect to do some waiting now."
Ms Hodge will leave the rural Bilambil school on a high note next week, when she accompanies some of the students to Lismore for a concert called Under the Big Top.
It is the perfect send-off for a principal wholly dedicated to her pupils.
"If I was still a classroom teacher I wouldn't have retired," she said.
"The job has changed so much in the past four years, that you no longer get out to see the children as much because its such paper warfare.
"The education is overtaken by the paperwork.
"That is why I moved my office to a place where I can watch the children play."
For the first few weeks of retirement, Ms Hodge will try to keep her mind off her old job and the missing school bells by immersing herself in travel.
In July she will fly to Edmonton in Canada to compete as a swimmer in the World Masters Games.
Then it is on a bus to see Alaska.
"It is my retirement present," she said.
Before then, she is relo- cating to Hervey Bay where she hopes to join the Hervey Bay Concert Band and play the tenor saxophone.
"People will still see me around. I want to come back as a casual teacher of the deaf in the area and will catch up at swimming carnivals," she said.
In her place next term will be new principal Carole Bool from Sydney.
"I read that her philosophy is love and laughter, so she will fit right in," said Ms Hodge.